‘Advent Candles (after Richter)’ (2016)

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Acrylic on canvas.  12 x 16 inches.

In 1982/83 Gerhard Richter painted a beautiful series of canvases (the Kerzen series) featuring white candles against stark green backgrounds. Painted from photographs and on a monumental scale, his candles were sometimes in holders, sometimes free standing on a white linen tablecloth, but more often than not cropped off at the bottom of the frame. Taking one of Richter’s cropped candles as my starting point, I’ve multiplied it to represent a circular Advent wreath, and tried to depict the order in which the candles are progressively lit on the four Sundays of Advent (violet, violet, rose, violet) with the final white candle lit at Christmas.

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Blogging a painting: V

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More cheating — I’ve discovered acrylic markers.  The Liquidex ones come in two thicknesses; these are the thin ones.  Brilliant for lettering and fine details where even using a fine brush would be clumsy.  Only trouble is the colours can’t be mixed, so they’re only really useful where pure colours are needed.  As in this Louis Vuitton pattern.

UPDATE (August 2017):  Blogging the painting clearly hasn’t got it finished!  The problem is I gave it an elaborate background which I don’t think works.  I’ll simplify the background and finish it off.

Blogging a painting: IV

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Highlights and shadows.  Do I start with a dark hand and paint in the highlights, or start with a light hand and add shadows?  I seem to remember reading that Greek icon painters did it one way, and Russian icon painters the other (can’t remember which way round this went.)

I usually start in the middle, by painting the whole hand with that mid tone on the wrist, then I’ll add dark and light, in that order.  However, with such a limited pigment range, I think the hand looks a bit 15th century.  So I’ll probably add touches of other colours – blue/grey and beige/green – later.  Always steal from the masters.